By Carrie McDermott
Website was created to share information with the public
A major water and sewer infrastructure project at North Dakota State College of Science’s Wahpeton campus will get underway next month.
The $13.298 million project will replace the college’s aging water, sewer and storm sewer systems, which are between 40 and 60 years old. North Dakota’s Legislature awarded the money to the school last year for the project as a capital expenditure.
The engineering firm of Bolton and Menk, Fargo, will oversee the project. It is scheduled to begin mid-May, immediately following the end of spring semester. Joel Paulsen, public engineer with the company, gave an overview of how construction activity, including parking lot closures and street closures, will be communicated to the community during the project.
“We’re taking a multifaceted approach for communications for the project because of the size and how much public interaction we’re expecting,” he said. “At the end of the project, the campus will have up-to-date infrastructure that will last 80 to 100 years.”
A website has been created that features all pertinent information about the project and each Monday afternoon an update will be posted for the following week’s construction activities. It can be found at https://www.bolton-menk.com/clients/NDSCS/CollegeofScience/index.html and the college has a link off of its website, which can be found at www.NDSCS.edu/waterproject/. Twitter and Facebook will also be utilized to share updates and people can sign up for text alerts as well.
Every parking lot on campus will be addressed due to the scope and scale of the underground work.
“It’s not just looking at pavement that needs to be replaced or rehabbed, it’s also looking at traffic movements and pedestrian safety as well,” Paulsen explained. “We’ve incorporated angled parking to increase visibility, increased a lot of pedestrian safety elements throughout the campus, including curb bump outs and more delineated crosswalks.”
A big change will be an added north-south thoroughfare through campus, by extending Fifth Street North from the east oval to the parking lot of Norgaard and Robinson Halls.
“The impact is traffic will be contained internally on the campus. We’re taking all this traffic and putting it in the campus and off the city streets,” he said, noting residents will see reduced traffic along Fourth and Seventh streets once the road is complete.
The entrances to both the south and east ovals will get new monument signage with an arch going over the entire drive, along with new landscaping and night-time lighting. Other beautification work includes complementary landscaping around Old Main and stamped concrete, all lending a more collegiate feel to the campus.
With the underground work, some trees will need to be removed around campus, but approximately 300 new trees will be planted.
Kindred, North Dakota-based KPH was awarded the general contractor bid for all water, sewer and paving work. Scott’s Electric, Wahpeton, was awarded the bid for all electrical work. The majority of subcontractors will be local. Several civil engineering and construction students will be hired as interns to assist on projects, as well, Paulsen said.
“It’s good for the economy to have local companies on the project. A lot of people will be in town, staying in town, using restaurants and gas stations,” Paulsen said. “It’s always a boost for the local economy when there’s a project like this.”
KPH has started removing pavement this week, which will be recycled and reused in the new product used for the base of the pavement. Trenchless technology will also be used, allowing shorter road closure times as crews will just need to dig down and connect campus water and sewer systems to the city systems.
“There shouldn’t be any service outages for people adjacent to the campus,” Paulsen said. The few road closures outside the campus are expected to be for only half to one full day at a time.
A staging area for material has been set up west of the football stadium, where crushed concrete will be piled and ground up for reuse. That material will be used to supplement the gravel-asphalt material that was recycled to bring it to proper specifications to put back down, Paulsen said. “Pretty much everything will be recycled out of this project that isn’t a metal material. The metal material will be recycled but not incorporated into the project.”
The majority of the infrastructure work is slated for completion at the end of November. Finishing touches including landscaping, pavement striping and lighting will be complete by the end of October 2017.
The construction staging and schedule is divided up into three phases. Adjustments may be made to each phase as time goes on and contractors can firm up dates. As of this week, the schedule is:
An informational meeting will be held in the upcoming weeks to allow the public to hear about the project as well as ask questions. A meeting date has not yet been set.
“These are very impactful projects and affect people’s day-to-day routines,” Paulsen said. “We’re trying to mitigate as many problems as we can with good communication about what’s going on. That’s our hope.”
For more information about the projects, which include maps, visit www.bolton-menk.com/clients/NDSCS/CollegeofScience.
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